Jack Dorsey’s Nano Bitcoin Mining Chip Goes To Prototype

Block, the financial services and technology company owned by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, has announced that it has successfully completed the prototype design for its new five-nanometer (5nm) Bitcoin mining chip.

Making Bitcoin Mining Technology Open Source

On April 28, Block published a blog post explaining that it is challenging to develop Bitcoin mining ASIC platforms both financially and technically. This has led to “an excessive concentration of custom Bitcoin mining silicon” in the hands of a select few companies. Block believes this centralization is detrimental to both miners and the Bitcoin network as a whole.

The San Francisco-based company has explicitly stated that it intends to “open source” Bitcoin mining technology wherever possible by selling standalone ASICs and other hardware components in order to “drive innovation and expand the size of the Bitcoin mining hardware ecosystem”. According to the blog post, the company has taken steps in recent months that will allow them to experiment with new designs and help them produce more efficient and affordable Bitcoin mining chips. To accelerate these development efforts, Block has announced that it has purchased a large batch of ASIC chips from Intel.

Five and three nanometer chips

On April 18, Intel announced it would stop taking new orders for its Blockscale 1000 Series ASICs before October 20 and end shipping in April 2024 as part of cost-cutting measures. Block has indicated that the purchase of a large quantity of ASICs from Intel will help accelerate the development of his own 3nm chip. The company claims that this chip will be the most advanced yet.

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A nanometer (1nm) is approximately the width of two silicon atoms. As parts of the chips get smaller, more transistors can be placed in a silicon chip of the same size. By reducing the overall size, the electric current has to travel less distance in the circuit to perform a calculation, resulting in improved efficiency and a reduction in heat produced.

It is noteworthy that 5 nanometer ASIC chips have been around for quite some time, with the first 5nm ASIC being released in 2021 by Chinese mining company Canaan. Currently, most Bitcoin mining ASICs run on 5nm chips. However, to date, no company has open sourced its ASIC chip designs.

The term “ASIC” itself stands for “Application-Specific Integrated Circuit” and refers to a device optimized to complete a single computational function and typically used to mine Proof-of-Work (PoW) cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin ( Bitcoin).

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